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Q & A: Urodynamics

Urodynamics is a group of tests that let your doctor look at how your lower urinary tract works. That includes the bladder (which stores urine) and the urethra (which is the tube that carries urine from your bladder to the outside). Urodynamics is the best way to properly measure bladder function.

Why is Urodynamics done?

Urodynamics helps identify specific problems related to:

• Loss of urine while coughing, sneezing, laughing or exercising
• Sudden and/or frequent urge to urinate
• Getting up at night frequently to pass urine
• Difficulty in emptying your bladder
• Recurrent bladder infections
• Weak or intermittent (stopping and starting) urine flow

What happens during Urodynamics?

Although there are several components to urodynamics, the principles are the same. The test usually follows a sequence similar to this:

• You’ll be asked to arrive for the test with a full bladder. You’ll then be asked to urinate into a special toilet to measure how quickly your bladder is able to empty. You may have a bladder scan immediately after you have passed urine to assess how well your bladder has emptied.
• After this, a small plastic tube called a catheter will be inserted into your bladder so it can be filled with fluid. Two fine soft catheters (sensors) will also be inserted, one into the bladder and the other into the vagina or rectum. These lines will record pressures measured in your bladder and abdomen.
• During the procedure you will be asked questions about the sensations in your bladder. You will also be asked to do some of the things which might trigger the problem you have (e.g. cough, strain, jog, stand up, or listen to the sound of running water). Let the person doing the test know when your bladder feels full.
• Finally, you will be asked to empty your bladder again, with the two fine sensors still in place. The sensors are then removed and the procedure is complete.

What happens after the Urodynamics test?

After your urodynamics are completed, your doctor will review all the information and discuss the results with you. Then you and your doctor will decide on the best plan of treatment for you.